I am a single woman by choice, and very happy with my life. So, how to be happily single? Read on to find out.
I was reading the reviews of recently released movie Pink. I have not seen the movie, but from what I have heard, the movie is about young, strong, independent women whom the society with all its biases does not treat well.
Then I started thinking that being an independent, single woman myself, why do I not feel these biases? Is it that we are so used to them that we take them in our stride and do not think much about them? Is it that I am so busy that I am blind to them, or is it that I have a ‘care two hoots’ attitude and therefore I don’t care about them?
As far as I recollect whenever someone has asked me about my marital status – I have always replied that I am happily single.
On further analyzing, I figured out this is my toolkit to being Happily Single:
Life is not a popularity contest, it is a journey, not even so much about destination. Therefore, always do what is right in your heart and mind. You will not always be right but as long as you can learn from your mistakes and have the courage to move on, its okay.
Therefore, stop seeking approval – if people don’t approve of you, its their problem, not yours. You cannot make everyone happy. At least make yourself happy, and more so when you are single, because no one else is working for your happiness.
I have a mantra in life – when you are not afraid of people, people are afraid of you. Do I want to instill fear in the hearts of people? Am I a dictator? Of course not. But at the same time, no one can just merrily mess with me while I sulk in the corner. If you keep on taking bull shit in life, you keep on getting it – learn to throw it back at people who threw it at you.
This is true in both personal and professional life. You will meet all sorts of jerks in the world. Even if you try to avoid them, many times they will make it a point to come in your way. You cannot keep running away from every fight. Somewhere you will have to stop and give your piece of mind.
One of my favorite dialogues is from the movie ‘Jab We Met’, where Geet says – “I am my favorite.”
When I say love yourself – it does not mean be rude to others, narcissistic or arrogant. It simply means embrace yourself. Do everything that you love doing, don’t make your being single an excuse for not doing things you enjoy. Like going out to a fine dining restaurant for a nice dinner alone, dressing up nicely not to impress anyone but to feel great or travelling to places – what are tour operators like Make My Trip for? Or watching movies I want to see, and enjoy the movie too, no matter who is sitting next to me!
My first memory of a single woman is of one of my school teachers. She was a ‘spinster’ and an unhappy one. I had never thought that I will be single at that young age but I had definitely thought one thing – I will not be like her.
Being a single woman by choice or by force or for that matter anything that may have come upon you in life is something you have to live with. I don’t understand how being angry about it or being an annoyance to everyone is going to change things.
Whenever someone is in genuine need of help- not necessarily big ones but small ones like someone wanting to talk their heart out or needing friendly advice or motivation – be there for them. This, I think is one of the biggest advantages of being a single woman – having time at hand to help someone in need. A married woman has so much to take care of that many times it may not be very easy to go out of the way.
When you are nice to people, you at least have some people around you whom you can call out for help in your times of need. Even if they are not there, God is going to make sure someone is.
But the best part is yet to come. So many people try to tell me benefits of marriage and here is my list of advantages of being a single woman:
Whenever I have to take a decision, it is evaluated entirely on what I want, and does it fit into my scheme of things or not. I do not have to think of my husband’s job or kid’s school. Therefore, one of my comments in a job related discussion is always that location is not a constraint with me as long as work is good. Most people have told me that I am the first person to tell them so in their entire career.
In fact, I have made this my USP – I never sign a lease, always stay in shared accommodation or paying guest accommodation where I can just walk in with my suitcases & walk out with my suitcases.
I do not have to put up with people whom I do not like in the name of duniyadari… Friends are the people you chose, and with whom you stay because they are nice, like-minded people whose company you enjoy.
However, circumstances also tell you who are the people worth keeping in your life. Since I travel and stay away from my home town most of the time, I avoid all social occasions where I might be tortured by the presence of people I don’t need around me.
I don’t have to make compromises on a daily basis. As a member of a family – your decision is generally a consensus or near consensus decision. As an individual, my decision about what I want to eat or where I want to go or which movie I want to see are all around me. I am the center of my life.
I don’t have to travel during the vacation season when everything is super expensive. I always wait for the lean season. I peacefully wait for the school break to get over, and then I take my break.
Since I do not have to co-ordinate the plans of too many people, I am always flexible. I can decide to make a detour from the plan. I remember when I was in Lucknow working for ICICI Bank, I would decide that I wanted to take my car and drive to Dewa Sharif, and listen to the qawwali – and I would actually do that. I call this stealing moments from time…
I love drenching in rain. Even when there was a cloud burst in Delhi, I was drenching myself in rain on the inside roads of my society. If I were a parent, I would have told my kids not to get drenched, and would have had to set an example myself. Thankfully I don’t have to do it. So, I can have chuski from a road side vendor, or not have a bath till late evening on holidays, or just lay in bed watching movies back to back with a tub of popcorn and coffee, and just spoil myself crazy if I want to!
I make my decisions – good, bad, ugly I stand by them and of course also pay for them. But whoever said married people don’t pay for their decisions? They pay for the decisions of their spouses and kids as well.
The biggest logic that people give me for marriage is – who will look after you in old age? To them my answer is look around yourself. How many kids are taking care of their elderly parents and how many are doing that respectfully? So, I tell them women first lose their health in child birth and then wealth in child education. I am preserving both – that should be of some use to me in my old age.
But my plan for my old age is simple – either I will go and settle in some village and do social work, or there are so many retirement communities coming up now for people like us. Also, I tell them that women have higher life expectancy than men so most old women may not have their spouses in old age. And those who have them – I see them fighting all the time…
Another thing people ask me about being single is who will do my shradhh & everything else. I have one simple answer for that – I am a registered organ donor, I will donate my body for medical research – this way no one has to bother about my funeral. As far as the shradhh is concerned – my ‘mukti’ is going to be a product of my ‘karma’ in my life and not from ‘dharma’ after my death…
The truth of the matter is this – You can always be happy if you decide to be, or you can be a victim as long as you give power over yourself to others – be it people or situation.
Your character is not determined by people’s words, it is the product of your deeds. You are answerable to only yourself and as long as you are right in your heart and mind, nothing else matters.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
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